“Evans?” Tiscornia walked over and slapped Evans on the back, “I guess you really are immortal… Does Zwev?”

“Yeah, I was given a week at home. She’s apparently due for another kid soon, and our little daughter is doing well,” Evans paused, and stared at his feet. The worst part about coming back, “So… I guess to start, Captain Kestel?”

Tiscornia knew what was coming, “At Battalion Headquarters. Simmons is the Lieutenant Colonel now. Gates is Fox Company CO. Strummer is Colonel, and Darling is now a General.”


“Lost a leg to an artillery shell,” Tiscornia laughed softly, “The lucky bastard.”


Tiscornia’s face dropped, “Pneumonia. Two months ago.”

“Sorry,” Evans paused a moment, “Newey?”

“Corporal now.”


“Ended it in September.”


“Sergeant in First Platoon.”


“Lance Corporal now.”


“Died at Northern Gate.”


“Now in a machine gun team.”


“Died at Northern Gate.”


“Lost an arm at Northern Gate.”

The two stared at each other in silence. Tiscornia shrugged, hugged Evans, and squeezed, “It’s good to have you back. Now let’s talk about happier things.”

“Right,” Evans smiled, “Where’s Captain Kestel? I’d like to say hi. Maybe see if I can get my old job back.”

Tiscornia snapped his fingers, “Best idea ever. We have a Battalion Inspection in two hours. Since Captain Kestel is the XO, she’ll be leading it. Oh, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know you’re back yet. So what do you say? Want to surprise her?”

“Oh god the look on her face will be good,” Evans pointed back at Tiscornia, “I need the worst uniform possible. No rank, unbuttoned, lots of threads, nothing shined, and the wrong shirt. Is it a Battle Inspection?”

Tiscornia closed his eyes and thought, “Yes… Yes it is.”

“Then I’ll tip my helmet over my face so she can’t see me from the front of the formation.”


Evans stood somewhat uncomfortably, trying to keep his face down. Captain Kestel was walking down the line. She wasn’t really doing a complete inspection, just looking for major errors. Which Evans definitely had.

Eventually the Captain reached him, standing hidden in the far back of Second Platoon of Fox Company. She grumbled a bit and starting writing on her clipboard, “What’s your name soldier? So I can know who to give extra PT for the next month.”

Evans looked up and smiled, “Lance Corporal James Evans Ma’am. Want me to do some push ups now?”

Her face going pale, Captain Kestel dropped her clipboard, “Bu… But… You died.”

“I got better,” Evans smirked.

Captain Kestel stepped forward and hugged Evans tightly before remembering her place. She stepped back, picked up her clipboard, and made a note, “Fall out Lance Corporal, I want to see you in my office.”

Evans saluted, “Yes Ma’am.”

After Captain Kestel returned the salute, Evans took a step back, and Captain Kestel rushed forward and hugged him a second time, “Screw Protocol. I… I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am.”

When she released him, Evans left the formation and walked to the Battalion Headquarters. After about half an hour, Captain Kestel walked into her office. Evans stood up and saluted while the Captain shut the door. She smiled, tossed her helmet to the side and hugged him again, “How is this possible? Newey said you were…. You were dead.”

“It’s a long story Ma’am. In short… The last thing I remember from Northern Gate was trying to find our lines. When I woke up, I was in a Vledscan Field Hospital. I was then in a prison camp until a few weeks ago. A Vledscan soldier used me to help him defect. Then I spent a week on leave and came here.”

“So… How did Anna react to all this?”

“Well she’s pregnant again. From… uh… leave before Northern Gate. She’s due in March…” Evans’ eyes opened wide, “I just realized I’m 21. Wow. I’m old.”

“Hey,” the Captain laughed, “We are old.”

“Right,” Evans smiled, “Two things now. First, Anna said you came by personally to tell her about what… What you thought happened to me. So thanks. Even if it turned out you were wrong. Second. Um… You need an orderly?

“About the orderly position,” Captain Kestel paused, “I am leaving the Regiment soon. I have been offered a position as the Battalion commander in the Naval Infantry. It is part of a program to get experienced officers before a coming attack. I have been told I can bring an NCO to act as my orderly and to assist the battalion’s… Petty Officers I think… in developing practical combat training and work along with a Private thats already been attached to the Battalion. I was going to decline and let the army decide for me, but now that you are here… “

“I’ve never been on a boat before… Sounds exciting.”



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